Wednesday, May 1, 2013

May First, Not MayDay






The Biscuits have had seasons where the end of April meant the end of contention. Not so this year, no need to call mayday, as the team is doing quite well in spite of losing the recent home series against the North Division Barons. Overall its been a successful first month, the Biscuits riding good bullpen and timely hitting to second place, just a couple games back of Jacksonville!



COMING UP - BLUE WAHOOS SCOUTING REPORT

Next up is a roadtrip to Pensacola, where the Blue Wahoos host a five game set next to the Gulf. The Wahoos have had tough luck early and will be looking to get back to even in the win-loss column.

The Biscuits will face the righthanded Chad Rogers in game one.

Rogers has been hands-down the best starter in the P'cola rotation since the departure of Tony Cingrani to the parent Reds. Rogers, in the first month has been very stingy about allowing baserunners. Rogers has impressive .083 WHIP ratio, less than one runner allowed per inning.
Chad Rogers has yet to slow the running game though - no basestealers have been caught while he is on the hill.


Donald Lutz was leading the team with five home runs before his promotion this week, leaving a gap yet to be filled in the lineup. Devin Lohman becomes the big bat in the lineup, 12 RBI .289 batting average.

CF Ryan Lamarr and LF Bryson Smith have been the most potent bats in the BABIP stat, yet only three Blue Wahoos sport batting averages over .235.

Wahoo starters, in no particular order, Rogers, Renken, Dennick, Crabbe and Smith -
Crabbe is most prone to giving up the long ball, allowing four already, groundball pitcher who struggles with control.

Dennick has held hitters to just a .218 batting average, only Rogers has fared better.
Renken also a groundball pitcher, in same mold as Crabbe, so far with success in minimizing damage and stranding baserunners.


WHAT TO LOOK FOR


The Biscuits need their starting pitching to come around, the bullpen cant be expected to carry all the weight alone.

The Skitz have shown good patience at the plate and we could see them start to take advantage of the team speed that is beginning to show up.


Biscuit pitchers have to stop allowing hitters to reach base, which has resulted in several ugly ERA totals for Montgomery pitchers.

Victor Mateos 16 walks in five games is atrocious, he may be pitching for his Double-A life in his next start or two.

Kyeong Kang should enjoy his second dose of Southern League pitchers. He was sent to Charlotte to get his timing down after a disappointing .245 season average last year. He is a career .270 hitter and at age 25 this is an important season. It was nice of them to promote Kang a couple days after I predicted a roster move would be made and suggested Kang was a good choice due to his hot hitting.






LUCKY WHITEMAN AND THE CURSE OF THE BAMBINO
OR
1918 WORLD SERIES GLORY


1918 Grandstand ticket

GAME SIX -
ONE FOR THE AGES




With Boston in 1918, Lucky Whiteman was a big leaguer for a full season for the first time.

He found himself having a fine year at the plate, batting cleanup and splitting playing time in left field with Babe Ruth, winning the American League pennant, and now only one win removed from a World Championship.


Ruth/Whiteman LF listed fourth in batting order on 1918 World Series scorecard

George was the oldest player on the Red Sox nine and in the series only Cubs outfielder Dode Paskert is older than Whiteman's 34 years. 
For Lucky, this is the biggest moment of his career - far removed from the Texas League, his time as a Climber at Cramton Bowl and the minor league success of Montreal.  

Panorama of game six, left side
Having played at so many levels, making so many stops and finding teams with success at nearly every turn, perhaps George Whiteman knew what was within grasp. Perhaps it drove him, motivated him. Perhaps he knew the Cubs were in on the fix, or knew that he might not get another shot at a world series title, or he just wanted to play to impress.


Panorama of game six, right side


First at bat for Lucky, when a groundout leaves runners at second and third, the Cubs decide not to walk Whiteman with first base open. Even after being burned the day before by pitching to Ruth in the same situation, the Cubs manager again chooses instead to pitch to the hitter with runners in scoring position.


Max Flack, did he drop it on purpose?
As a reward to the Cubs for thinking he was an easy out, Lucky drives a well struck ball to the outfield where it is misjudged and dropped by Chicago outfielder Max Flack - two runs score on the error and Whiteman stands at first having supplied the Sox with a two run lead.



Lucky then tries to push his luck - while on first base, Sox first baseman Stuffy McInnis singles to the shortstop - after a long run to corral the ball, the shortstop throws the ball to first but McInnis has beaten the toss and is safe at first base.


However Lucky has rounded second and heads for third. Cubs first baseman Fred Merkle makes an historic mistake called the Merkle blunder, but it isnt here - the alert Chicago infielder throws to third where Lucky is out easily. The final out of the inning is made at third base, but Boston leads by a pair of runs.

Whiteman thrown out at third

In the fourth inning, Lucky is unable to throw out a Cub runner at the plate and the lead is cut to just one as Fred Merkle drives in the first Cubs run.

In the fifth inning, George grounds out to shortstop. A fly out to centerfield in his next at bat would end the seventh inning.

view of the field, 1918 World Series at Fenway

At the top of the eighth inning with the RedSox still up just one run, a Cub pinch hitter Bob O'Farrell leads off with a sinking liner to left field that Lucky races in to grab. Diving to make a shoestring catch just inches off the ground, Whiteman makes the out as he rolls into a somersault. It would be considered one of the key plays of the game, and of the series by sportswriters.

Lucky realizes something isnt right when the next hitter lifts a popup between him and the shortstop, after the shortstop makes the play he will remove himself from the game with an injured neck.

Carl Mays, game 6 RedSox pitcher
Boston will deploy his backup in left field - Babe Ruth. Lucky Whiteman comes off the field to a roaring ovation from the fifteen thousand Fenway fans.


Red Sox starting pitcher Carl Mays retires the next four batters he faces for the complete game victory and the Boston Red Sox defeat the Chicago Cubs in six games to win the 1918 World Series.


There is no celebration on the field. 




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